Khabib Nurmagomedov, commonly known as ‘The Eagle’ is the top-dog right now in the UFC and has been for some time. With a record of 28-0, his unique grappling fighting style has played an instrumental role to produce a prosperous legacy across combat sport. For me, what’s stands out, even more, is his attitude in and outside of the Octagon. He carries the religion of Islam wherever he goes, let’s his passion do the talking and embeds a humble presence through his persona and across his team. Khabib is an unorthodox type of character in an industry full of extroverts, loudmouths and big ego’s. Whether you’re an upcoming fighter, sports enthusiast or passionate about self-development, get your reading caps on as you’re about to explore how Khabib’s identity can help you strive for greatness.
Embrace your adversities
Khabib has grown up in one of the most war-torn regions across the globe, NE-Caucasus. His recently passed father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, was a fundamental part of building Khabib’s resilience from a young age. The reigning lightweight champion wrestled wild bears at nine years of age, arguably the most significant assessment of any child’s character. Adding to the Russian’s crazy upbringing, he first taught himself how to swim by throwing himself into a river in his home town of Kirovaul. Six of Khabib’s childhood friends had sadly lost their lives in this river. The Dagestan local also regularly ran to the mountains and back, roughly taking 30 minutes each time. Abdulmanap installed a cut-throat discipline into his son at such a young age which mentally endorsed Khabib to carry a fearless attitude to life’s challenges.
What can you learn from this? By any means, I’m not saying go outside and fight a wild animal or put your life at risk! The point is to embrace your adversities as it will mould you into a stronger character, just like Khabib building a legacy that will go down in the history books of the UFC.
Khabib has created an identity for being an introverted personality in the world of combat sport. He’s a man that prefers to let his passion do the talking, pays respects to his opponents and uses his platform to encourage others to establish a similar mindset. An example involves Khabib’s post-victory gesture against US MMA fighter, Dustin Poirier. The two swapped shirts after Khabib’s win and Khabib placed an auction for the sweater which sold for $100k, and he donated that money to Dustin’s charity, The Good Fight Foundation. In multiple press conferences and media interviews, the Russian athlete has actively promoted the importance of respecting your elders and those above you.
In a commercialised sector of sport, many athletes have allowed the increased fame to drown out their moral values. But not Khabib, despite being the poster boy for MMA’s largest competition, he still knows how to carry himself as if he was always the same young man on the come up to becoming a world lightweight champion.
Champion a cause
The undefeated Russian is a Muslim which has created a polarised the MMA fighter’s image in Russia due to his home country having historical conflicts with Islam in the 1990s. Despite that, he champions the religion of Islam with pride, showcasing it to be a religion of peace and nothing else. Many have made remarks to him supporting this cause, including Irish UFC legend Conor McGregor during the build-up of UFC229 making insulting comments about Khabib’s family.
Regardless of what you believe in, don’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of promoting that.
Introverts can win
In a world where it’s a game of ‘who can shout the loudest’, people like Khabib don’t need to by letting their passion show their skill. He’s a man of a few words, partly due to his broken English which deprives the opportunity to sit in more media interviews. However, it only adds more credibility to his unique persona. A moment which stood out for me was remaining composed during the build-up for UFC229 against The Notorious Conor McGregor. The Irishman made multiple attempts to trigger the Russian, including offering Khabib a shot of whiskey which goes against the Russian’s beliefs. Instead, Nurmagomedov rose above the tension and ended up being victorious, which has been an imperative event to becoming the cash cow of the UFC.
Khabib inspired me to write this blog as a lot of his inner-values resonate with mine. I consider myself an introvert that prefers to substitute talk with action, champion positivity wherever I go and embrace any challenge that life throws at me. I hope you also seek inspiration from Khabib’s core values, what resonated with you the most?